Research ArticleCancer

Stromal Endothelial Cells Directly Influence Cancer Progression

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Science Translational Medicine  19 Jan 2011:
Vol. 3, Issue 66, pp. 66ra5
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3001542

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Cancer growth and metastasis are regulated in part by stromal cells such as fibroblasts and immune cells within the tumor microenvironment. Endothelial cells (ECs) are also ubiquitous within tumors because tumors are vascular, and yet, the impact of tumor-resident ECs is less well understood. Through paracrine regulation, ECs modulate a diverse spectrum of pathophysiologic processes in normal and hyperplastic tissues. We hypothesized that ECs offer similar paracrine regulatory control of cancer biology. Indeed, secretions from quiescent ECs muted the proliferative and invasive phenotype of lung and breast cancer cells in vitro and reduced cancer cell protumorigenic and proinflammatory signaling. EC perlecan silencing significantly changed this regulatory relationship, eliminating the ability of ECs to inhibit cancer cell invasiveness via increased interleukin-6 secretion. Moreover, implanting ECs embedded within porous matrices slowed adjacent xenograft tumor growth and prevented architectural degeneration, with a concomitant reduction in proliferative and tumorigenic markers. Finally, lung carcinoma cells pretreated with intact EC-conditioned media, but not media conditioned with perlecan-silenced ECs, exhibited reduced micrometastatic burden after tail vein injection. These findings add to an emerging appreciation of EC-regulatory effects that transcend their structural roles and pave the way for improved characterization and control of EC-cancer cross-talk interactions for diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of cancer.


  • Citation: J. W. Franses, A. B. Baker, V. C. Chitalia, E. R. Edelman, Stromal Endothelial Cells Directly Influence Cancer Progression. Sci. Transl. Med. 3, 66ra5 (2011).

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